Conference call(s) overview

Just got off the calls with Dean Lombardi, Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. I’ll be posting full quotes throughout the day, but here are some highlights…

– The word Lombardi used repeatedly with the two new players was “competitiveness.” It’s a big quality he sees in both of them and a primary motivator for the trade, along with the desire to get younger at two positions and acquire two NHL-ready players who have the potential to be part of the organization for a long time.

– Lombardi is confident that a short-term deal with Rob Blake will be reached soon.

– Lombardi spoke highly of Visnovsky and said he’s confident that Visnovsky will be a top “second-tier” defenseman. He hinted that part of Visnovsky’s struggles might have come from pressing and trying to improve a struggling team last season.

– Prior to the trade, the Kings did not negotiate an extension with Stoll. They would like to sign him to a long-term deal.

– Roughly 30 coaching candidates have contacted the Kings. Lombardi, once again, stated that he will wait until after free agency dies down before he seriously starts looking at candidates.

– Lombardi said that Visnovsky’s representatives were well aware that a trade was possible, especially since there had been talks of a trade for the last couple weeks. (As an aside, I have no interest in publishing translated “quotes” from Visnovsky. Last summer, after the huge uproar about the “communist” comments, Visnovsky told me he never even spoke to that reporter in question).

– As far as free agency, the Kings are unlikely to sign a forward now that they have Stoll but will likely look at two defensemen, Blake being one. He’s not looking at five- or six-year contracts for defensemen; more like two or three years, it sounds like.

– The Kings are still talking to O’Sullivan’s representatives, but when I asked if anything was “close,” Lombardi said he wouldn’t use that term. Jeff Solomon, the Kings’ top guy on such matters, is working on this.

– For the first time ever, Lombardi raised the possibility of signing a “bridge” goalie to a one-year contract. He also, however, hedged his bets considerably on this and said he wanted to look at Bernier, Quick and Zatkoff during the prospects camp to see if one of them is ready to back up LaBarbera.

That’s all for now. I’ll post extensive comments from Lombardi, Stoll and Greene throughout the afternoon.

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  • Anti-Anthony

    Thanks for the great job you are doing Rich. Could you clarify what exactly the penalties are for a team being either above or below the salary cap limits

  • Anti Anti Anthony

    Yeah, you cant ice a team.

  • typicaljs

    Does the comment about trying to find a back up for LaBarbera with no mention of Ersberg hint that Ersberg might not be back because he’s already asking for a ridiculous salary ?

  • B

    Oh boy, I just hope “short-term” deal for Blake means 1 year. There’s no reason to sign him for anything longer.

  • Nick

    Rich, if you get a chance ask Lombardi or can you give your opinion the forward lines now…Looks like Lombardi’s plan of building from within might be hindered with Stoll and Richardson.

    Brown-Kopitar-O’Sullivan
    Frolov-Stoll-Purcell
    Calder-Handzus-Richardson
    Ivanans-Armstrong-Boyle/Ellis/Zeiler

    This pushes Armstrong down to the 4th line, Boyle has to battle Ellis and Zeiler and Moulson doesn’t even have a spot? No chance for Brady Murray either.

  • brian

    A good trade for both teams: Stoll is solid center and a decent face-off man, Kings fans should like his hard work ethic. Green has size 6’3″ to help clear out the crease. Oilers get a productive point man to pair with Souray which helps their power play.

  • petey

    Hmmm…I found the last comment about the goalie’s interesting. I wonder if Ersberg has decided to stay over seas or even be asking for more than DL thinks he’s worth.
    On that, he should be looking at LaBarbera as the back-up to Bernier.

  • anthony

    WHAT’S this stupid obsession with signing Rob Blake.
    Did anbody, except myself, notice how pathetic he played last season.
    Did anybody notice his Minus -19. Second behind Handzus.
    Did anybody notice the kind of distraction he was during the trade deadline. Agreeing to be traded then saying No. Then Ok to Colorado only.
    Last season, this player played with absolutely ZERO passion. I only saw 2 hip checks.
    He did nothing to clear players from the goal crease.
    And finally, did anybody notice that the Kings were a .500 team when he was injured and out of the line-up. And that was when the team was playing on the 8 game road trip where they defeated Detroit & the Rangers.

    Guys, do me a favor.
    Go back to the Kings schedule March 10, 2008 against the Canucks.
    The kings lost to the 2-1 in OT.
    Watch that OT goal scored by Ryan Kessler.
    He skated by Mr. Blake. Got in front of him and camped infront of the goalie to tip in a goal.
    Meanwhile, Rob Blake did absolutely nothing (like his hands were inhis pocket).
    Rob Blake played like that all season. But for one reason or another, that Canuck goal sticks out like a sore thumb.

    Rob Blake only cares about money and one day being in the front.
    His play was a disgrace to the Captaincy.

    Guys, before you bash me again, watch the Ryan Kessler goal on March 10, 2008. Do me that favor.
    I’d link it to you, but my computer has been crashing lately.

  • Quisp

    Nick:

    Swap Stoll and Handzus, swap Richardson and Moulson. I don’t think Zeiler will make it. I hope something happens to get rid of Armstrong. Despite DL’s comment, I still wonder if he won’t be signing a UFA left winger, like Demitra or … Burtuzzi. I know, I know. But each of those options has a way of clarifying things when you look at the forward lines.

    I do think that Purcell, Moulson and Boyle are the rookie forwards DL expects to make the team, per his comments in the spring about people being ready to step in. Accordingly, RIchardson may spend time in Manchester, and Zeiler is basically a lesser Ellis.

    I think, right now, the player hanging by a thread is Armstrong. He’s a natural center, on a team with Kopitar, Handzus, Stoll and Boyle. He’s Corey Millen without the speed. If the Kings make a single UFA forward signing, Army is doomed. I expect him to be traded for picks.

  • Mark

    I honestly can’t see LaBarbera being the starting goalie for this team. He’s been given too many chances and seems to have problems keeping the spot. Granted the first time was because of important family matters but he wasn’t too impressive the following year against Cloutier and Garon and last year he couldn’t gave up too many rebounds and Ersberg showed more talent than LaBarbera. Trade him for a 4th or 5th round pick and start over.

  • Anthony’s Correction

    Anthony, genius…you do realize that Blake was playing at about 50% for half the season, right?

    Don’t let facts get in the way of your rants though.

  • Quisp

    Anthony:

    I agree with you about Blake. Even when he was in his prime, it used to drive me crazy that his highlight reel ass-checks would frequently happen on the same shift as an opposing team’s goal. His plus/minus has frequently been horrible, as it was last season. I’m not sure that “all he cares about is money” but I don’t think he’s an inspirational leader. He’s a so-called “quiet leader” which seems to me is a quiet way of saying he’s not inspirational in any way…unless of course he plays his ass off and leads by example, which as you noted he doesn’t do.

    But I also think the writing is on the wall with this one. He’s going to be signed to a one-year deal with incentives. He’s going to try to not suck and then he’s going to retire. And, provided that he is not given the lion’s share of the ice time and isn’t expected to shut down the other team’s #1s, it could actually work out. This depends entirely on who the OTHER UFA is. Orpik?

    I hope so.

  • jkwondachef

    Corey Millen without the speed. You had me laughing for a couple of minutes there. Good one Nick! I agree Army is doomed if a UFA forward is signed although I don’t see that happening. I think Deano is going to keep working on the D. Now sign Brooks Orpik! Do it Deano!

    Orpik/Johnson
    Doughty/Pressing
    Greene/Harrold/Blake/(Insert D-Man Here)

    In two or three seasons it will look like this as your top four

    Johnson/Doughty
    Tuebert/Hickey

  • Ru

    A bridge goalie…COME ON Ersberg is gooood! This organization really doesn’t give goalies much of a chance!

  • anthony

    Go watch that Ryan Kessler OT goal. 03/10/08.
    Then talk to me.
    Ask yourself, if this is what you want to see all season and pay millions for.

  • Mike

    What about Ersberg at prospects camp?

  • Marc Nathan

    Come on Dean… don’t you realize that more than half of the “die hard” hockey fans in Los Angeles all believe Erik Ersberg PROVED that he was an NHL goalie last year?

    LOL… Kings fans can be so sad sometimes.

    I don’t buy into LaBarbera being the answer, but I sure don’t think that there’s ANY reason for the team to do TOO much to improve themselves in that position while waiting for Bernier, Quick and Zatkoff to turn into Jamie Storr or Rogie Vachon… (or Barry Brust, or somewhere in between.)

  • JD A

    WTF is DL’s obsession w/ Labs? Labs is by no means a #1 netminder and there is no place for him in the future w/ this organization. Ersberg and one of the rookies / bridge goalie should fight it out for time next season. At best keep Labs around as a backup but dear god how many times do we need to see him flop around give out fatty rebounds.
    Also, Anthony –
    I am in no means saying that Blake was decent last year because he wasn’t. I found myself screaming at him game after game to get off his ass and play with some passion, but there were still occasional sparks of his old school form. I believe he is a good guy and his experience is something you can’t deny. He is a good presence to have around for ALL of the young kids we’re forming into the core of this team. There is no denying his experience and hockey knowledge. Every team needs someone like this in order to pass on the torch and make the team come be successful and come into its’ own. So don’t cry and scream too much b/c he’ll only be around one more season. The plans are starting to come together nicely and things are looking brighter, let’s just hope we see some real results sooner than later.
    Thanks for staying on top of this Rich. Can’t wait to read the quotes. Thanks again!

  • Quisp

    Anthony’s Correction:

    Yes, Blake was supposedly playing at 50% or whatever. He has frequently during his career played at some lesser percentage of himself due to injuries. And now that he’s — what, 38? — he’s going to be playing at some diminished ability no matter what. It’s not really a very good excuse that he wasn’t physically ready to play due to injury. He shouldn’t have been playing then. Really, if you’re that bad and you’re old and you’re playing hurt, maybe he should have just called it quits.

    I’m just saying, it’s not necessarily insane or irrational to believe firmly that Blake is bad for the Kings. My personal feeling is he’s too old for it to matter too much. Either he’ll be okay or he won’t. If he craps out, it will most likely be due to injury, and that will be it for him and the kids will be forced to step up anyway. He bugged me much more when he was “all that.”

  • petey

    Hey Anthony. For some strange reason, I get this feeling you want us to watch the Ryan Kesler goal on 03/10/08. Is that true?

  • anthony

    Thanks Quisp.
    Your analogy is right on.

  • Quisp

    Re the goalie comment:

    Who knows WHY DL said that. He’s notoriously close-to-the-vest with his actual intentions. Maybe he’s trying to convince people Labs is a #1 goalie so he can deal him for a rental. It’s quite obvious to anyone who has watched the Kings over the past few years that Labs is the rental in the sense that he ain’t going to be a Kings goalie in two years. Right now and for the next month for DL it’s deal making time. Everything he says has will be read by everyone he’s dealing with, the other GMs. Thge fact that he didn’t mention Ersberg may also mean nothing. But it could mean that he’s negotiating with Ersberg and he doesn’t want him to feel too good about himself until he’s signed. The more I think/type about it, the more I think that’s what it is.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t sweat it. I think it will be Ersberg and Labs to start, with Bernier coming up midseason after Labs is traded away for a bag of pucks, I mean picks.

  • Mike

    What bridge goalie? I don’t understand what’s wrong with Ersberg. Give the guy a shot. He was very impressive last season. I just don’t get it!

  • Bridgie McPylon

    What a stupid thing to do. Make up names for “types” of players and them make them stupid names with a built in excuse. How’d you like to play hockey all your life then agree to come to a crappy team and be called a “bridge” player. Does Lombardi ever think before he acts or does he just do what he feels then rationalize it later? “Bridge” players, how stupid.

    BTW, I think we are sweeping this “day before the NTC” thing under the carpet. The Visnovsky quotes have him VERY mad at Lombardi for doing this and have him claiming that he was given an oral commitment that he would not be traded. Did this commitment exist and if so why was it tossed aside so easily? I think these questions need to be answered.

  • the voice of reason

    Anthony,

    This is the first time I’ve seen you offer concrete proof as to why Blake sucks. But to do it in the form of one single moment is just ridiculous.

    Do you know in that same game Blake was on the ice for longer than anyone but Jack Johnson? He also had 3 blocked shots, and was on the ice for the only King goal. As for the play itself, I have a tough time pinning that loss on Blake. He was moving his feet well; Kesler just beat him. Sometimes you gotta tip your cap to the other guy.

    Lastly, your rants would be easier to read if you would incorporate a question mark from time to time. I know punctuation and proper grammar isn’t intrinsic to a career in law, but let’s try to make the effort, huh?

  • Matt

    Is anyone else worried that Dean doesn’t see the Sully negotiations as being “close”?

  • Isaac

    #1. Lets not be retarded here. To bet the farm on unproven defensemen, forwards and goalies is not how you alleviate the frustrations from past seasons.

    To expect Bernier, Hickey, Daughty, Teubert, Boyle Purcell etc to make the big club full time and be impact players is retarded and goes against history. Bring them up slowly and when they are ready. Particularly goalies and dmen.

    With that said, please go resign blake but lets not be under any delusions that he is going to be an all star. He is a solid NHL defensemen and we know what we will get from him. And if Ersburg is not coming back for whatever reason, the yes, by all means sign someone to back up Barbs.

  • Cob

    “To backup Labarbera”

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Jonathan Bernier made the team last year as a 19yo.

    He’s more experienced and more mature now. Either way, Bernier will be the BEST goalie in training camp.

    And the trade still stinks. Stoll, when healthy, is just a decent 2nd liner, while Greene is a bottom pairing defenseman.

  • Duracell

    >>> Anthony said: Did anybody notice the kind of distraction he was during the trade deadline. Agreeing to be traded then saying No. Then Ok to Colorado only. <<<

    Distraction from what exactly? It’s not like the Kings were fighting for a playoff spot at the time.

  • Anonymous

    Lord Anthony, there are 2 constants which you Anthony, your hatred of DL and how much you can stand Rob Blake. When Blake signs again, I’m going to send you a Blake jersey, a box of cookies, and some tissues.

  • Anonymous

    Lord Anthony, there are 2 constants with you… your hatred of DL and how much you can stand Rob Blake. When Blake signs again, I’m going to send you a Blake jersey, a box of cookies, and some tissues.

  • Dman

    All I can is when you have a plan,you better stick to it. I mean going young,it’s no disrespect to Rob Blake, but it would best for the team not to resign but to use that 6 million to get an younger. You just traded a player who’s only 31 but you want to resign a player who’s 39.. And are you going to sign Brad Stuart?..What about Sully,Harold,Moulson,Ersberg,Petiot,Ruossin,Piskula,Kanko,Gauthier,Dallman?… I feel that Army,Ivanans and Giuliano and maybe Kyle should traded for picks…Why not go for one or two more free agents after signing Stuart?.. Mike Commodore,J Cheechoo,K.Huselius,S. Montador,Mark Streit,M. Ryder,M. Rozsival,C.Stillman,R.Vrbata,S.Avery,J.Ruutuu and why not take a stab at Brian Campbell?…. Bring up Boyle,Purcell,Moulson and them all on the same line?… Signing of these free agents would solidfy the team… Anze-Brown-Sully,Stoll-Frolov-Richardson, Zues-Kyle(?)-free agent, Boyle-Moulson-Purcell or (?)..